5 Steps To Staying Healthy In Winter
Easy ways to boost your immunity and avoid colds and flu this season. Did you know that socialising strengthens your immune system?
1. Boost your diet
Eating foods that are high in vitamin C will help keep your immune system strong, so include fruit and vegies such as lemons, kiwifruit, capsicum and broccoli in your weekly shop. If you’re struggling to get the recommended two serves of fruit and five serves of vegies each day, try juicing them, making juices that consist of two-thirds vegetables and one-third fruit. Ensure your diet also includes plenty of lean meats, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy, legumes, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, and use lots of herbs and spices.
2. Exercise regularly
It’s vital to keep your workout regimen up during winter, with a recent study showing that a moderate level of regular exercise has a long-term cumulative effect on immune response. Studies show that regular aerobic exercise, five or more days a week for more than 20 minutes a day can lower the number of sick days during the winter cold season, but don’t go overboard! Overly strenuous exercise releases the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body, which can weaken the immune system.
3. Stay connected
Socialising helps strengthen your immune system by keeping you active and reducing your stress levels, so avoid the temptation to rug up on the couch all winter. Invite friends over for dinner or host a games night, visit local museums and art galleries, wrap up warm and go for a walk in the park with your family or plan a cinema date with your partner.
4. Scrub up
Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness as it limits the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes. This is important during winter when we tend to cough and sneeze more frequently.
5. Sleep well
Lack of sleep can have a serious effect on your immune system, making you more vulnerable to catching colds. Create a relaxing bedtime routine, such as listening to soft music or soaking in a warm bath. Avoid watching TV or using your computer just before bedtime and turn the lights down low an hour before you turn in for the night, as it will boost the release of melatonin in the brain. Also try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends.